Homeless Nashville

How do you describe being homeless? Growing up in a middle class family, doing all the right things. Then one day, you are on the street.What Happens now?

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Name:
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Now that I am no longer homeless, I still hope to help others. There are a few who truly want off the streets, out of the soup lines. Back to a "normal" way of living. Everyone who is homeless isn't a bum, nor a criminal. There are those that just need a chance. My first day as a homeless person was April 1st, 1997. From then on its been an unreal experience. Not one I would suggest anyone go thru, but one I know I have learned from. I hope in some way this blog helps you, the reader know a little about me. But more important , I hope it helps you understand a little more about homeless people in general.

12.22.2004

12.24.2004

Its pouring down the rain, so I came to the library to get out of it.
I worry about fellow homeless folks in this weather. There is a cold fron coming in,Christmas Eve temperature is supposed to be around 8 degrees. Good chance of many catching the flu or penumonia.
The rear entrance to the library is in the parking building. Many times people, including the homeless wait in the alcove for the library to open. Its dry, usually at least warm , and out of the weather. Lately they have had a guard come and move the homeless out. I noticed if there was anyone there who didn't LOOK homeless, they wouldn't say anything to them. The library here is noted for their tactics towards the homeless, but I think thats just taking things too far.
I don't know if I will be in tomorrow to write anything. Seeing as the cold weather is coming again , I need to make some preperations for the next 4 days. Cardboard boxes help insulate and keep the wind off. SO when this rain quits I need to drop behind a few business' to find a dry box or two. I have decided not to apply for any jobs until after the holidays are over. Maybe something will open up for me then
Happy Holidays to all.

12.21.2004

12.21.2004

Not much of a happier day today. I find myself thinking back alot. Gets depressing.
I read about a baby being born that weighed only half a pound. My prayers, for what they are worth, go out to that child and its family.
Hard to believe a baby that small.
My hope is that everyone has a wonderful and safe Holiday season. WIth the library being closed for 4 days, I won't be online much during the season. I may not post at all until after the first of the year. I feel like finding a hole and crawling in , then I realize, I am already there.
Take care, may you have a blessed Holiday

12.20.2004

12.20.2004

Thanks to everyone who has written to me via email.And thanks to the person who arranged for the cell phone. Someone very wonderful sent me a Virgin Wireless cell phone, its one of the pay-as-you-talk plans, which would work very well for me, I don't need one often, but it WILL help in the job search. Thank you so much.
The emails have been wondeful to read and its nice to know there are people who care and are thinking about the homeless in general, and of course me in particular.
I often wonder if other homeless have anyone who even thinks about them.

12.20.2004

The last few days have been pretty depressing. Its been cold, its Christmas and I have applied for 5 more jobs , only to be turned down. I should expect that, I guess, after this long of a period of time, but its really hard right now.
Sometimes its easy to feel sorry for one's self out here.About the only thing the cold weather does is it makes things a little safer sleeping at night. It's too cold for most to be out wandering, looking to see what they can get into.
Hard to get a good nights rest though. My feet were cold last night. I still havent been able to fix my sleeping bag's zipper. I hate to take the money to get a new one, but it looks like thats going to have to happen.

I miss the family times , especially at holidays. Getting presents was ok of course, but to have everyone there together, laughing and cooking, having a great time was the best.
Christmas causes people to forget for a short while, all of the angst, anger, hurt, that has built up over the past year. I saw family members who hadn't spoken for awhile, laughing together. I miss that.
I hope everyone gets one wish that comes true this Christmas. We all deserve that.

12.18.2004

Who are the Homeless?

What diversity is there in the homeless population?
1. The mentally ill. Every stastic I have seen says about 1/3 of the population on the streets and in shelters is mentally ill, who cannot provide for themselves.
2. The alcohol and drug abusers. About 1/4 of the homeless population are substance abusers.These usually the ones you see panhandling and who most people judge all homeless by.
3. Unemployed and those who are no longer employable make up almost half the population.
4. About 1/3 are Veterans.

Most have lost their family unit. The foundation that everyone has. Someone to go to in time of need, to talk with, to just be there for them.
Domestic abuse, divorce all contibute as well.
Those that do work make very low wages and there is no affordable housing for them.
Life throws a lot of things at everyone. For those who ended up homeless, they weren't, for whatever reason(s), able to deal successfully with the situation.


12.18.2004

There are tens of thousands of homeless in the country. Why is that? I have tried to narrow the reasons down to a few, but its impossible. SO, how do we prevent it? How do we help those that are homeless?

I read an article once about a group of people who had donated to help the less fortunate for years. They realized that thru the bureaucracy, they weren't getting the "bang for the buck" they wanted. 25 people went together and sponsored a homeless person. They didn't give him a free ride. But they did help him back into the mainstream of society. They provided living expenses for a year, including transportation. Found a suitable job for him that paid a living wage.
When I read the article he had been off the streets and working for 4 years. I would say that was a success.
I don't see that kind of success within the differing programs available. I would say that is one former homeless person that thanks God and 25 people every day.
What else can be done?
That's part of why I started this. What can be done to help all homeless that want off the streets, want their life back?



12.18.2004

Good Morning!
Today there is a memorial to the homeless people who have died in the past year on Nashville's streets and to raise awareness of the impact of violence and poor medical care on the homeless.
57 homeless passed away last year here in Nashville. Officials from Metro Nashville,the NAACP, homeless advocates and the homeless of Nashville have gathered for 17 years to remember those that are no longer with us.
The non-profit homeless advocacy group, Homeless Power Project, organizes the memorial service.
Please take the time this weekend, wherever you are, and think about the people you see daily on the streets.
Thank you

12.17.2004

My Story 2

To continue with more about my life and how I ended up at this point, in this situation.
I mentioned my Mother in the previous post. My Mother was a single Mother. I never knew my Father. She moved back to my Grandparents farm before I was born. I was raised by my Grandmother though. My Mother took little interest in me.

When I was 9 1/2 years old, she married. I never have called this man my Step-father. He was an ex-army drill instructor and an alcoholic.They moved to the little town near my Grandparents and I , of course went with them. From day one, he would get drunk every evening, coming home after the bars closed( most of the time she was with him also) and grab me up out of bed and beat on me with his fist.A surprising thing to happen to anyone, let alone a kid less than 10 years old. Reasons? None, I made great grades, never got in trouble. Wasn't perfect, but I was a good kid.
Finally after 6 months of this, I was so terrified of nightfall, I couldn't begin to sleep. So, I stayed up one night, they came in the door and I took a lamp to his head. While it did knock him down and daze him, it didn't stop him. Or do his mood any good. I went to my room and pulled every stick of furniture in it , in front of the door.
The next morning, my Grandparents came to get me. Maybe the best day of my life. I had a great childhood from then on out.

Homes For All In 10 Years

This is an article published this morning in The Tennessean, the Nashville daily paper. IF all this comes to fruition, it will be a wonderful thing. But , as polotics go in Nashville, it may be mostly hot air. Wonderful reading though.
Tennessean

12.16.2004

12.16.2004

It seems the library is going to be closed for 4 days during Christmas. An unusually long time, but Librarians need time off too I suppose. Of course during this time I won't be posting any.

It warmed up a little today. I am glad, I think the cold wears on a person. I know these days I am out it it about 16 hours a day.

I have scanned a few blogs in the short time I have on here, I hope to add some of them to my list soon. They all seemed very interesting.

Christmas List

I was asked again what people could do for Christmas for the homeless, so I am making this a post unto itself.

1. Warm gloves, the brown jersy gloves are good , but wear out very quickly.
2. Socks, white ones
3. Sweatshirts
4. Toboggans
5. Winter coats, the flight jacket type are good, they tend to be better made that most
6. candy, everyone has a sweet tooth
7. If you want to give something more, try gift certificates to McDonalds or other places like that, please be sure whatever place you use is local and within walking distance.
8. AA batteries, most homeless have a small radio.
9. many can use a backpack.
10. belts. seems they are hard to find in th e clothing rooms.
11. SHOES, so terribly hard to find, I can't wear sneakers or regular street shoes, strange as it may seem cowboy boots are the only thing I can wear that dont hurt my feet and legs, BUT, most homeless will take any good pair of sneakers, even used.
12. ASK! Don't go alone for safety's sake, but ASK. If you see someone on a regular basis you wold like to help out, ask what they need.

My Story

Good morning to All!

I was born in West Virginia. Lived there until 1995. My Mother and I lived on my Grandparents dairy farm. I loved that place, we milked, raised tobacco( didn't care for that much), raised chickens for the eggs to sell and sold dressed hens for the table also. I was really a great life, hard work, sometimes I woould be so tired when I went to bed, I would wake up in the same position I fell asleep in.
I married in 1978. I thought it was a pretty good marriage. We had no children as che wasn't able to and she didn't want to adopt. Trouble was she didn't want to be faithful either. After 18 years I finally had enough. I divorced her and decided I wanted a fresh start somewhere else. My Grandparents has long since passed away ( my Mother is another story I will share later) and I had no close family ties to keep me there.
I ended up in Nashville because of a job. 3rd shift, fair money, but the promise of more later. What I didn't know was that there was to be no "later". The job lasted 2 months , when the contract they had wasn't renewed, I was out of work.
It was winter time and no one was hiring. I used up what I had saved and was working with temp services when they had work for me. Let me tell you, the temp services are NOT a way to earn a living. After I paid for housing, gas for my truck and food, I had less than $5.00 a day left. This is when the homelessness began.

12.15.2004

12.15.2004

I haven't had much time today to add any posts. I have been trying to work with the template and add a few things to it. Unsuccessfully I might add. But I am learning, and thats always a good thing.
After looking at the weather, it seems we won't be warming up. Oh well.

12.15.2004

Cold again last night. Down to about 18 degrees.However there seems to be a slight warming trend coming in later on in the week.
Locally,Gov. Bredesen signed an order to create a council to address homeless issues.
A good idea, most likely more political than heartfelt, but I guess anytime anyone tries to address an issue, its a good thing. I do hope they include members of the homeless community in the council.
On another note, many times homeless are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Many sleep in abandoned buildings,doorways of business', or in parking garages. They get arrested many times for trespassing. I wish something could be done to 1. curb the arrest rate, it just puts more of a burden on the taxpayer.2. find a place where the homeless are willing to go, thats safe, warm, and dry.
Many suggest the Nashville Rescue Mission, I have a link to the Mission's website, but I for one wouldn't recomend anyone stay there. You can eat your noon and evening meals there, if you need too( they won't serve breakfast to anyone who doesn't stay all night). I stayed there for a time. I don't think I have ever been treated so badly in my life. I imagine they offer such treatment because of the way many of the men that stay there act. I have seen grown men act like 10 year olds.But I have always treated each person on their own merits, and like to be treated that way myself.
The Room in the Inn program also runs in the wintertime.(see link) I have never been in the program, but it seems to draw a large crowd of homeless back to Nashville in the winter, so I guess they must enjoy it.
Thanks to all who have written to me directly. I do appreciate the kind words.

12.14.2004

12.14.2004

I have been often asked the question, "how do people help the homeless?" Good question that there are many answers too. Short term:

make up a goody bag, with socks, gloves(brown jersey gloves are good, but they wear out in about 3 weeks),maybe a stocking cap.A few pieces of candy, potato chips, maybe a can of soda. Some , like myself have radios, so AA batteries are always welcome.


Larger intems could include coats, sweatshirts, JEANS!, blankets for those that sleep on the streets. Even an old sleeping bag in the attic , you no longer use.
Food is good, but there is food everywhere in Nashville.


Maybe you have eaten out and have a doggie bag, a homeless person might enjoy that.But meals in general are not hard to find.

If you like you can email me, I will try to help out anyway I can.

12.14.2004

It occured to me that anyone reading this might not know how I get on the internet.
I use the computers within the Nashville Library system. Due to the so many homeless using the computers they have limited the time online. SO, some days I may not get to write as much as others. I was saving for a laptop, but, living came first so I no longer have the money for the laptop. Who knows, if Santa thinks I have been a good boy, maybe he will visit me. Gotta believe!



12.14.2004

It was COLD last night. Down to about 20 degrees. Where I stay is pretty quiet, I have been there about 16 months and I have only had other homeless come by twice. Both times looking for a place to drink. I did have three guys coming by on Wed. nites to smoke crack. But I finally convinced them to leave and not come back.

Anyway, the police have had bicycle units in the neighborhood for awhile and one of the officers who kneww I was there came by. I have to admit I am not a fan of Nashville's finest, but this officer was truly concerned about my well-being. Until I told him I was there all last winter. Still he offered to call a car to take me to the mission anytime I wanted, all I had to do is to go out to the main street and he would come get me.That was pretty decent of him. I have dealt with a few who were very obnoxious.

BTW, I do have permission to sleep where I am from the building owner. There have been break-ins in the area, but none in the buildings where I am at. I am up at the first strange sound. Self-preservation mostly.

Still didn't get that zipper fixed on my sleeping bag, but I was warm, except for my feet. I am trying to figure out something to solve that for tonight and the future.

"The future". I used to think about the future in much different terms than I have the past few years. Future, to me, meant work, planning for vacations, holidays, etc. I used to love to hunt and fish. Now, planning for the future is on a much more basic level and tends to not look much past the next couple of days.


12.13.2004

12.13.2004

I guess a little background about me is in order. I am 50, just turned the big 5-0. I have been homeless for 8 long years. Why am I homeless? I think a variety of things happened. I don't blame anyone but myself. I got out of a bad marriage, tried to start life anew and things didn't turn out as expected.I am NOT a drug user or alcoholic. Not lazy. Unlucky? No, I think we make our own luck. Who knows. Maybe by venting a little here, it will help me in my day-today life.

12.13.2004

I am new at blogging, so any help anyone can give would be appreciated. I can do HTML. I have also worked with CSS some . I am currently having a problem adding a hit counter. I used one from Bravenet, but it isn't showing up.Thank you ahead of time.

12.13.2004

Monday morning. I was colder this morning. I awoke to find my the zipper in my sleeping bag broken. I tried to fix it, to no avail. Thats going to be a problem when it gets really cold.
I went thru last year with just the bag and survived pretty well, but its difficult to keep covered up with no zipper.
I guess this week I need to try to find a coat and gloves as well. I have a light weight coat, and its suffices pretty well for the cooler temps.